Maine corrections officials have agreed to work with legislators in developing an online database of prisoners, reports the Portland Press Herald. The Department of Corrections had started developing the Internet database – intended to be accessible to the public – to keep crime victims informed and to allow offenders’ family members a way to send money to cover expenses such as telephone charges, Associate Corrections Commissioner Denise Lord said. Rep. Stan Gerzofsky, co-chairman of the Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety committee, was upset that the project had been initiated without the committee’s involvement.
Lord said a site would include information that is publicly accessible already, although getting at it is not so simple as searching an online database. Some 40 states already make online access to prisoner information available, and 23 of them provide information about people who are on probation, she said. Committee co-chairman Sen. William Diamond said there are about 2,000 prisoners in Maine and 8,000 others on probation. Corrections officials have not estimated how much such a system would cost to keep up date.